Some years ago now, (about 2005, a few months before I had graciously been led to this site by God's Providence), I was in quite a state - For a couple of years, going from job to job, being tossed to and fro being taken advantage of, a double-minded man being unstable in all His ways, trying to serve both God and self at the same time...I was at my whits end, and became utterly discouraged and saddened at the state I saw the main-stream church in. Having just bought my first pc, I began searching sites that I saw on "christian" television for some kind of encouragement and fellowship, I guess, thinking, "I know there is more to this religion than what I am living and seeing within and around me"; for the Bible tells me so, as well as 'something' within me just not feeling right, and knowing that I was not at peace with God, yet desiring to be so and live as God would have me by His grace.
As, in my ignorance, I began searching the internet, I went to what address I knew at the time - that being TBN, Trinity Broadcast Network, out of the U.S. - and there was some event on it being held where many of the "preachers and teachers" were soliciting funds, being all together in one studio, having a fundraiser of sorts, on that internet channel.
Well, as I recall this, the various speakers in that studio, were saying things like, "Plant a seed and reap a harvest; If you send us $100, $500, $1,000, you will reap a thousand-fold blessing in your life and pocket book, for the Lord is...'this, that, and the other thing'...And He will do it. Just plant a financial seed, and be partners with us", etc, etc, etc. Now, this fundraising event went on for a day, or three, and during this time, I had many thoughts arise within me such as - "Ya know Richie, maybe this really is your breakthrough moment as they are saying...I'm living paycheque to paycheque, just barely making ends meet...Maybe, if I send them $100, the Lord will reward me with a better job, and I can afford to eat a little better, maybe buy a vehicle so I can get around and even look for a better job..." (thoughts like those).
Well, I ended up, the following week, sending the $100 I could barely afford to part with.
Now, afterwards, about 6 months to a year later, I recall being in my apartment, and having that life-experience running through my mind... And I asked the Lord about it, because I was somewhat confused about the whole idea, and I this rebuke came to my mind in power and in gentleness at the same time - "Richie, you gave away to get something out of it; this is not how My kingdom operates". Ah, I was baited at a low time in my life, and I took the bait and swallowed the hook! But, Halleluiah! Praise God! The Lord Himself taught me a lesson that no TBN teacher or preacher ever taught me. All Glory to God of Heaven and earth! Praise you Jesus! Praise Your Holy Name! The Lord took a foolish thing that I did, and gave me insight into the motives of even my own deceitful heart. Oh, what a wonderful God we serve, All knowing and All powerful.
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one the asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, he will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, he will give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him? therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." - Matthew 7:7-12
"Therefore take no thought saying, 'What shall we eat?' Or 'What shall we drink?' Or 'Wherewithal shall we be clothed?' (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." - Matthew 6:31-34
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." - James 1:17
"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." - James 4:3